All Posts by Kevin Wood

Flat Tyres

Where are you most likely to suffer a flat tyre in Brisbane?

Tips to help you deal with a flat tyre or blowout in Queensland

In October 2018, the RACQ released figures showing where you are most likely to get a flat tyre in Queensland. The Gold Coast came out as top, but many of Brisbane’s suburbs fared poorly too. If you live or drive in the following suburbs, you best take extra care to avoid a flat when driving:

  • Eight Mile Plains
  • Brisbane CBD
  • Chermside
  • Coorparoo
  • Greenslopes

What causes a flat tyre?

There are two main causes of flat tyres: underinflation and tyre blowout.

Underinflation

You should never drive on underinflated tyres. There are studies that show that a vehicle with one or more underinflated tyres is three times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. Make it a habit to check your tyres weekly, and keep them inflated to the recommended tyre pressure.

Tyre blowout

A blowout can be as scary as hell. It will take you by surprise, make your vehicle hard to handle, and put your life and others in danger. The major contributors to a tyre blowout are:

  • Driving on underinflated tyres
  • Tyres that are in poor condition
  • Poor road conditions such as potholes and debris on the road
  • Driving at excessive speed on poor roads

What are the dangers of driving on flat tyres?

Driving on flat tyres will decrease your safety on the road. It will make steering more difficult. Braking distances will increase. You are more likely to skid on slippery roads. And, of course, you are more likely to suffer a blowout on a poorly maintained road – and there are plenty of these in Brisbane and Queensland.

If your tyre is flat and you carry on driving, you’ll find that your vehicle pulls to one side. Driving in a straight line is harder to do. You’ll also damage the internal structure of the tyre. You could also damage your vehicle.

Driving on a flat tyre makes it more likely that you will crash, because of the effect it has on handling and braking. Checking and maintaining your tyre pressure is one of the easiest things to do to avoid killing someone on the road.

Let’s hope that you avoid killing a fellow road user because of your flat tyre. It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer. Driving on a flat tyre is likely to damage your vehicle’s components. You may need to pay out to replace or repair brake lines, suspension, wheels and calipers. And this is just the start. Driving on a poorly maintained flat tyre could cost thousands of dollars.

What should you do if you have a flat on the road?

If you suffer a flat tyre or blowout on the road, you should stop as soon as you can:

  • Slow down to 20 or 30 Km/h
  • Look for a safe place to stop
  • Stop

Depending on the damage to the tyre, it may be reparable. A small nail of screw could cause deflation with little damage. A blowout or gash is likely to damage the tyre beyond repair.

On a quiet road, you might change the tyre for the spare yourself. To do so, follow our instructions in our article “How to change a car tyre after a blowout”. However, we echo the recommendation of the RACQ: if you get a flat, pull over in a safe place and call a professional. The busier the road, the more dangerous it is to change a tyre. In fact, if the road is too busy, we’ll move the car to where it is safe to work on.

In summary

Driving on a flat tyre is dangerous and the damage it can cause to your vehicle can be expensive. Improper inflation, wear and tear, a tyre defect or small damage to the tyre will increase the likelihood of you suffering a flat. Driving on underinflated tyres on poor road surfaces – and driving at excessive speed – increases the chances of a blowout.

If you do suffer a flat tyre or a blowout while driving, pull over safely and call the professionals. It’s not worth risking your life to change the tyre yourself at the roadside.

Finally, prevention is always better than cure. The best way to avoid a flat tyre is to monitor your tyres. Check them weekly. Keep them inflated to the correct, recommended pressure.

If you spot any tyre damage (nicks, cuts, grazes, bulges, nails or screws in the tread, etc.), seek the help of a professional. Here in West Brisbane, bring your vehicle to our tyre shop. We also have a truck and commercial mobile service.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Eathmoving Tyres

Your complete earthmover tyres guide

Choosing, fitting, maintaining, repairing and storage of earthmover tyres

Whatever your earthmoving vehicle, and whatever its use, perhaps the most important of its parts is its tyres. They’re all that separates the vehicle from the ground, and are vital in vehicle, driver and site safety. Earthmover tyres are an investment in man, machine and business. To maximise value from your investment, you must buy the correct tyres, fit them properly, and maintain and store them effectively.

Which earthmover tyres should you buy?

Choosing the right earthmover tyre is vital. Not only will the right tyre help your operation run smoothly, it is also essential to obtaining the highest level of tyre performance.

Earthmover tyre markings – use

The markings on earthmover tyres comply to an international standard. One of the markings tells you which use the tyre is designed for. This is a single letter, each pertaining to a single-use classification:

Earthmover tyre markings – tread

As with other types of tyre, earthmover tyres have different shapes and depths of tread. When deciding which is best for your earthmoving vehicle, you should consider the type of surface it will encounter. This is the biggest factor in the damage that could be caused to the tyre, and the amount of grip it needs to have.

Like the use classification, treads are depicted by standard markings. Instead of letters, treads are shown by numbers as follows:

Know your earthmover tyre capacity

When selecting your earthmover tyres, you will also need to know your TKPH (tonne-kilometres per hour) or TMPH (tonne-miles per hour). This is the working capacity of the tyre. This depends on the load capacity and the number of kilometres of travel in an hour.

Tyres of the same size and tread pattern could have different TKPH ratings, depending upon the types of rubber used in the tyre manufacturing process.

Fitting earthmover tyres

Fitting earthmover tyres is a dangerous operation. It must be carried out using recommended working methods and in line with tyre safety rules. These are designed to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment.

If tyres are fitted poorly, it could cause damage to the tyre and make the vehicle unsafe to operate. Incorrect fitting of earthmover tyres is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

You must not allow non-qualified, non-experienced people to fit earthmover tyres. The stakes are simply too high.

Maintaining earthmover tyres

Once fitted and in an operational setting, earthmover tyres must be inspected regularly. This will ensure that any damage or wear is spotted early.

Checks should be made on the treads at several points on the tyre. This is best done using a depth gauge. You should also inspect the tyre for cuts, grazes, gouges and bulges on the sidewall and tread, and for damage to the bead zone.

Correct tyre inflation is crucial. Correctly inflated earthmover tyres ensure optimal performance and safety of operators, other personnel, and equipment. Underinflated and overinflated tyres could severely impact traction and braking, and cause irreparable damage to the tyre, as well as irregular wear that reduces effective tyre life.

Repairing earthmover tyres

Repairs should always be carried out by a fully trained tyre professional. They will fully inspect the tyre first and assess if the damage can be repaired. This assessment is critical, and it must be made with the tyre removed from the wheel. Only then can the technician make a sound judgement – a wrong call could lead to a dangerous repair being made.

How to store and move earthmover tyres

If you store or handle earthmover tyres incorrectly, you risk damaging them beyond repair. You may also risk accident and injury to operators.

Tyres should be stored:

When handling tyres, you should not:

It is essential that operators comply with all health and safety rules at the operating site, and wear and use personal protective equipment.

Summing up

Investing in the right earthmover tyre is essential for your operation. It helps to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment, and it improves operational effectiveness. Once you have selected the correct tyre, it is essential that it is fitted correctly and maintained properly.

Because of the very serious safety factors associated with the fitting and repair of earthmover tyres, you should only ever entrust these tasks to qualified and experienced tyre technicians.

For all your tyre needs in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres to benefit from the very best, fully qualified and experienced tyre technicians.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Spare Tyres

What spare tyre should you invest in?

Spare tyre tips for all drivers

A spare tyre is a spare tyre, right? Wrong. A spare tyre is a lifesaver. You carry a spare to get you out of trouble, should you suffer a puncture or tyre blowout on the road. With spare tyres, you might decide a space saver tyre is the best choice. But it’s not your only option.

There are several different types of spare tyres. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you decide which is best for you.

·      Full-size matching spare tyre

This is exactly what it says: a tyre that is the same as the tyres on your vehicle. Should you need to switch one of your tyres for the spare, it won’t look out of place. You won’t need to get to a tyre shop straight away to replace the spare. However, a full-size spare takes up more space than other spare tyre options.

If you have a full-size spare, you should include it in your tyre rotation regime. This will mean that when you make a full tyre change you should change five tyres and not four.

·      Full-size non-matching tyre

This is a full-size tyre that might not be on a matching wheel. You may be tempted to maintain a spare tyre that is a different size to your other tyres (within legal guidelines), though we don’t recommend this.

Like the full matching tyre, you won’t have to drive straight to a tyre shop. However, this type of spare also takes up more space in your vehicle and does nothing for aesthetics.

·      Full-size temporary spare tyre

This tyre has a shallow tread depth, and therefore a limited life as a replacement. You shouldn’t use it for anything other than emergency use, but if you do need to use it you won’t need to drive straight to a tyre shop.

A full-size temporary spare tyre should perform little differently to your other tyres, so your handling and grip is unaffected. Because they are lightweight, they are easier to handle. However, they will still take up the same amount of space as other full-size spares.

·      Compact spare tyre

This is also a lightweight tyre with a shallow tread. However, its smaller. Thus, it may be a good option for those with limited space to keep a spare in the vehicle. You’ll need to inflate it to a higher pressure, and you will also need to go to a tyre shop immediately. You should note that driving on this type of tyre could diminish driving features such as ABS braking and traction.

·      Collapsible spare tyre

This is the spare tyre that takes up the least space, so it may be a good choice if you drive a small car or have lots of luggage to carry. However, to use this type of tyre you will need to inflate it – usually with a canister. It is also only good for a limited mileage.

Tips to help you choose a spare tyre

How do you decide which tyre is best for you? Space, location and where you drive are the most important considerations. For example:

  • If you drive mostly around the city, you won’t be far from a tyre shop. So, you may decide on a lightweight, temporary spare.
  • If you plan to take a road trip across Australia or into the Outback, you’ll need a robust spare to ensure you can continue for what may be a hundred miles or more, or across rough terrain.

When buying a spare, you should ask advice from the tyre specialists at your tyre shop.

Tips for driving on a spare

You should check your spare tyre regularly, just as you do your other tyres. Make sure that it:

  • Is correctly inflated
  • Is not damaged in any way
  • Has a legal tread depth

When driving on a spare, you should drive more slowly. Some spares are not made to drive at speeds of more than 80 kilometres per hour. Remember that many spares are only for temporary use. You should get to a tyre shop as soon as possible.

If you are using a full-size spare, while you can drive further on it, you should remember that you now don’t have a fit spare tyre – so you shouldn’t delay repairing or replacing your damaged tyre.

If you need a spare tyre or have used one because of a puncture or blowout in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres and bring your vehicle into out tyre shop for fitting by fully qualified and experienced tyre technicians.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyres

What damage can potholes cause to tyres and vehicles?

Tips to avoid potholes and what to do if you can’t

Poor road surfaces, such as those caused by unrepaired potholes, are one of the major concerns for drivers in and around Brisbane. In last year’s RACQ Unroadworthy Roads Survey, an incredible 600 sub-standard roads across Queensland were nominated – 60% of these nominations cited poor road surface as the reason for the nomination.

In this article, you’ll learn what damage hitting a pothole could do to your tyres and vehicle, how to spot that damage, and how to avoid damage caused by potholes.

What damage could a pothole do to your tyres and vehicle?

Pothole damage is often visible, but can also be invisible.

Invisible damage that hitting a pothole can cause includes damage to the control arm. This connects the steering and wheels. If this is bent or damaged, then your ability to steer correctly could be impeded, though you may not notice this until you need to take emergency action.

Your suspension may also be damaged by hitting a pothole at speed, and this could cause the vehicle to veer from side to side, or the vehicle to shake.

Depending on how hard the pothole is hit, the engine could move off its mounts. Engine misalignment means the engine must work harder, and this will cause damage over a longer time.

Other damage that is visible includes bent wheel rims, body damage, and, of course, damage and punctures to tyres.

How do you spot tyre and vehicle damage after hitting a pothole?

Fortunately, unless you are driving at speed, the chances of a pothole puncturing a tyre are slim. However, bent wheel rims, body damage, and damage to shocks and struts are more common. Your tyres may also be damaged, and you might suffer issues with your wheel alignment or wheel balancing.

If you notice any of the following signs of tyre or vehicle damage, you should take your vehicle in for inspection immediately:

  • A tyre looks low – this could be caused by a slow puncture, often caused by a bent wheel rim
  • The tyre sidewall is bulging, which indicates there is internal damage to the tyre and the steel belts and nylon in the tyre have separated
  • Your vehicle pulls left or right while you are driving, which indicates the wheels have become misaligned
  • The steering wheel vibrates while you are driving, a clear indication that your wheels have become imbalanced
  • You hear a strange and consistent noise from under the car while driving, which could mean that part of the car or wheel is rubbing against the suspension

How can you avoid damage from potholes?

Potholes will always exist on roads. They are caused by water seeping beneath the tarmac through cracks, forcing the road to rise. The weight of traffic causes the tarmac to break and a pothole to form. As more traffic rolls over the pothole, it becomes worse. Potholes are a fact of life – like death and taxes. Therefore, it’s important to know how to avoid the damage they might cause:

  • First, always make sure that your tyres are correctly inflated. This will help your tyres and vehicle absorb any impact should you hit a pothole.
  • Drive slower, especially on roads that you don’t know or that you know to be rough.
  • Ensure that you remain focused on the road ahead. Don’t get distracted.
  • Keep your distance from the vehicle in front, so you have time to react and can see what is approaching.
  • Take care if you swerve to avoid a pothole, especially on highways when driving at speed. Hitting a pothole can cause damage to your vehicle. Hitting another vehicle could be far worse.
  • A road with one pothole is usually a road with more. The first pothole that you hit or avoid should be the warning to be more focused and defensive in your driving style.
  • If it is impossible to avoid a pothole, take the following action to retain control of your vehicle: slow down, steer straight, and don’t slam on your brakes.

Getting your vehicle checked after hitting potholes

If you hit a pothole and notice any of the signs of impact damage, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic or tyre shop. Tell them what happened and the signs of damage that you have noticed, and make sure that they check:

  • Wheel alignment and balance
  • Damage to the internal tyre
  • Wheel rims for cracks and bending
  • Damage to the engine mount
  • Shocks, struts and suspension

If repairs are needed, get an estimate and check out your insurance cover – it may help to pay for damage caused by potholes.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres – we’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Truck Tyres

Real-time truck tyre pressure monitoring is here with Goodyear (almost)

The Goodyear TPMS could have multiple benefits for fleet operators

One of the bugbears of fleet managers is wear and tear on truck tyres. One of the most common causes of extra wear and tear on a tyre is running at incorrect tyre pressure, which also causes handling and safety issues and harms fuel consumption. All these benefits of maintaining the correct pressure in a truck’s tyres are well known. Yet doing so remains difficult.

It’s hard to check tyre pressure on trucks that are constantly on the move. When they are parked long enough for pressures to be checked, it’s not an easy job. Getting to the valves can cause new leaks that cause new problems.

All these issues may disappear soon. Goodyear & Dunlop Australia are currently trialling their real-time Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and indications are that it will be introduced as a service later this year.

How does the real-time TPMS work?

Goodyear’s system uses sensors on each wheel. These transmit pressure and temperature information every two minutes to a telematics box on the truck.

The telematics box transmits this information via mobile networks to a cloud-based server. This is where the magic really works. The information is crunched, and Goodyear applies a set of algorithms to it. These tell the system if an issue has occurred, so that the fleet manager can decide if action must be taken. This should prevent truck tyre issues becoming bigger problems.

The system doesn’t simply consider the tyre pressure. It also considers the effect that the temperature of the tyre has on tyre pressure.

What difference does the TPMS make to a fleet?

When drivers and technicians make manual tyre pressure checks, it is impossible to accurately allow for the effect of temperature on tyre pressure. While these changes in pressure may be small, they could signal a leak. Having this advanced warning, especially from trucks that are on the road and in motion, could help to prevent more costly repairs, the need for new tyres, or, in extreme cases, life-threatening accidents.

Making a repair to a small leak puncture could prolong a truck tyre’s life by several thousand kilometres, as well as that of the partner tyre in dual applications.

Alerts from the TPMS can also prevent the need for dangerous roadside repairs. When the system tells a fleet manager that there is an issue, time can be allotted to make the repair in the depot or at a tyre specialist’s shop. This early warning and prompt action also helps to prevent further damage to the tyre.

The TPMS alerts also provide information about other issues, such as uneven loading or problems with the brakes.

When will the Goodyear real-time TPMS go live?

The trials being carried out by Goodyear are proving very promising, with issues being discovered within minutes with pinpoint accuracy. While fewer than 1% of tyres being tested have needed urgent attention, the ability to know exactly which tyre and where on the tyre an issue exists is proving to be a big benefit to users.

The success to date has prompted Goodyear to announce that they will exhibit the system at the Brisbane Truck Show from 16th May 2019, and it is expected to be offered as a commercial service later this year. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know for certain.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres – we’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyre Tips

Five tyre maintenance tips to keep you safe on Queensland roads

Maintain your tyres with these simple checks

Whether you only drive the school run daily or travel thousands of kilometres every week for work, your vehicle’s tyres are one of the most important parts of it. Possibly the most important – without tyres, you wouldn’t get anywhere. They are integral to your vehicle’s handling, its fuel consumption, and your safety.

These five tyre tips will help you get the most out of your tyres, helping them last longer, maintain handling ability, and keep you safer.

Check your tyres’ tread regularly

A tyre’s tread removes water and helps your car grip the road. The legal minimum tread in Queensland is 1.5mm. At no point on the tyre must the tread be shallower. However, you don’t really want to allow a tyre’s tread to get down to the minimum. Experts recommend that you should replace a tyre before the tread gets down to 3mm.

Using a 20 cent coin, you can check the depth on your tyres easily. Simply slip the coin’s edge into the treads, and if the tread reaches the platypus’s bill, you’re down to 3mm.

How much difference does the tread really make?

Here are the braking distances at three different tread depths:

  • At 8mm tread depth, a car stops in 25.9 metres
  • At 3mm tread depth, a car stops in 31.7 metres
  • At 2mm tread depth, a car stops in 39.5 metres

Rotate your tyres

Whatever your driving style, your tyres will wear differently according to their position on the vehicle. Front tyres wear faster on the leading edge when cornering, while rear tyres will wear more evenly.

Protect your quality tyres with good rotation, rotating between axles and corners every 5,000 to 7,000 kilometres, and your tyres will last longer.

Ensure your wheels are aligned

If your tyre tread is unevenly worn, your steering is pulling, your car is vibrating, or your steering wheel is crooked when you are driving, it is time to get your wheels aligned. Properly aligned tyres are essential to achieve better fuel consumption and maintain good handling.

Ensure your tyres are balanced

Like properly aligned wheels, properly balanced tyres will ensure your drive is straight and true. Poorly balanced tyres wear faster and decrease the handling ability while driving. If your steering wheel vibrates while you are driving, it is likely that your tyres have become misbalanced.

Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated

Driving on incorrectly inflated tyres is asking for trouble. Underinflated tyres will cause wear on both inner and outer shoulders, while overinflated tyres will cause wear along the centre of the tyre (see our article “What does this tyre wear and tear mean?” for more information).

Checking your tyre pressure once each month should be enough to prevent damage from improperly inflated tyres, though a weekly check is best. You’ll find the proper inflation measures to use on the tyre placard on the inside of the door jamb.

When will you need a tyre specialist?

It’s easy to do a weekly tyre check yourself. Check the treads, look for uneven wear (and cuts, grazes and lumps on the tyre sidewall), and check the tyre pressure. If you notice any signs of poorly aligned wheels or improperly balanced tyres, or that the wear is uneven, then you should take your vehicle to a tyre specialist.

To get the best from your tyres and make sure that you are safe on the road, never take a risk with tyres. It is better to be safe than sorry. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your tyres and you are in the Brisbane area, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Run Flat Tyres

Should you change your tyres to run flat tyres?

The benefits and disadvantages of run flat tyres

You may have heard of run flat tyres, and possibly be considering replacing your current tyres with run flat tyres at your next tyre change. This article will help you make the best decision.

What is the advantage of run flat tyres?

If you have ever suffered a puncture while driving, you’ll know what a frightening experience it can be, especially if you are driving at high speed. The sudden loss of pressure can lead to sudden and even complete loss of control.

If you manage to safely bring your vehicle to a stop with a flat tyre hampering your handling, the danger isn’t over. Now you need to change your flat tyre for the spare: a dangerous roadside operation on a clear day, but even more so at night, in the rain, and when visibility is limited.

Run flat tyres are designed to keep the sidewall intact should the tyre be punctured. Even at zero pressure, a run flat tyre should maintain its shape. The reinforced sidewall will retain its rigidity for long enough to allow you to reach a tyre shop or get home – generally as far as 80 kilometres, though the actual distance depends on make and model of the run flat tyre.

How do run flat tyres work?

Run flat tyres work in one of two ways: either they are made with a strengthened sidewall, or with an internal support ring. They work well, too, though they have proved to be unpopular with many drivers. Because of this, very few vehicle manufacturers fit them as standard.

What are the disadvantages of run flat tyres?

There are four main reasons for the unpopularity of run flat tyres:

1.     Run flat tyres are not available for all vehicles

Usually, a vehicle manufacturer will build in a run flat system into its models. If your vehicle was supplied with run flats, then you won’t have a problem. However, if it does not have the run flat system built in, you may not be able to fit run flats on your existing wheels.

2.     Fuel economy is affected by run flats

Run flat tyres are heavier than ordinary tyres. This increases the rolling resistance and means your fuel consumption will be higher. While you won’t need to carry a spare (saving you money and space), the higher fuel consumption means higher fuel bills.

3.     Run flat tyres may not get you home

The distance that a run flat tyre can take you after a puncture is limited to a maximum of 80 kilometres. This may not be enough to get you home or to the nearest service station or tyre shop. Plus, you will be limited to travelling at no faster than 80 km/h.

4.     You might not be able to buy your favourite brand

Finally, because of their lack of popularity, some brands don’t manufacture run flat tyres. You may not be able to buy your favoured brand or in the size you need.

To use run flat tyres, you need a TPMS

If you are considering changing to run flat tyres, you will also need a TPMS – a tyre pressure monitoring system. This is a system that alerts the driver to a sudden loss of tyre pressure. Older vehicles are unlikely to have this fitted.

One final complication is that if you do have run flat tyres fitted and the TPMS warning light signals a loss of pressure, it does not necessarily mean that you have suffered a puncture. You may simply be driving in zero-pressure conditions. If you are not aware of the reason for the warning light, you may drive faster than you should on your run flat tyres.

In summary

For many drivers, run flat tyres take away the fear of being stranded at the side of the road trying to change a flat tyre in poor weather conditions while other vehicles are speeding past. This is a big advantage. However, whether they are the right choice for you depends on many other factors – such as the make, model and age of your vehicle, and the type of driving you do normally.

Whatever the reason for your tyre change, here in Brisbane drivers know they can trust Darra Tyres to give the best advice and help them make the best choice. We understand that all drivers are unique, and this means your choice of tyres will be unique, too.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres – we’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Spare-Tyre

Why you should check your spare tyre if it rains in Brisbane

When was the last time you checked your spare?

The weather here in Brisbane can bring calamitous conditions to roads. The seasonal storms we have in Brisbane are particularly dangerous for drivers, because of their effect on tyres. Slippery roads make handling more difficult and increase braking distances. Not surprisingly, there are more accidents in the rain and on wet roads than there are when the weather is dry.

Rain is also bad news for tyre life. When tyre rubber is wet, it is damaged more easily. This makes it more likely that you’ll suffer a puncture. This is especially true if your tread is near the minimum legal tyre tread depth. In fact, it has been estimated that the likelihood of a puncture is doubled if you only have 10% of useful tread remaining on your tyre.

When did you last check your spare tyre?

Your spare tyre may be the most important you have. If you do suffer a puncture, a well-maintained spare tyre will get you to the nearest tyre shop or back home. If it’s flat, it won’t. A flat tyre is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Most drivers we meet in our Darra Tyres shop have never checked their spare tyre. If your vehicle is more than five years old, it’s likely that your spare tyre won’t be much use to you. All tyres have a limited life, even if they aren’t used. You can read more in our blog, “How do you know how old your tyres are and if they need changing?

Our advice is to check your spare tyre at least once per month. Make sure that it is fully inflated and doesn’t have any debris in the tread. If one of your driving tyres is punctured, you’ll be pleased you took five minutes out of your busy life to make sure the spare is right.

What if you don’t have a spare tyre?

Some vehicles today don’t carry a spare. Instead, the manufacturer supplies a can of magic gunk to make an emergency repair. That’s all well and good until you suffer a real bad puncture. If you’ve been running your tyres flat, there’s a good chance that the sidewall will rip – especially in the wet.

That can of gunk isn’t going to fix a tyre with a bad puncture. You won’t be getting home until you’ve had the tyre replaced roadside – and that’s going to be more expensive than if you had been able to get to a tyre shop.

Prevention is better than cure

This is something my dad used to tell me all the time. It’s as true today as it was all those years ago. If you do what is necessary to prevent a catastrophe, then you won’t need to do what is necessary to recover from that catastrophe. Now, you may not think that a puncture is a catastrophe. Tell that to the driver who gets a puncture in torrential rain, spends 10 minutes getting the damaged tyre off, replaces it with the spare, and then finds the spare is flat when he takes the car jack off.

Here’s our advice to help avoid punctures when it’s wet (and when it isn’t):

  • Check your tyres once per week. Make sure they are free from debris and inflated to correct pressure.
  • If you notice any cuts, grazes, bulges or flat patches, take your tyre to a tyre shop to have it inspected.
  • Once per month, do the same check to your spare tyre.

Simple, isn’t it? A five-minute check once every week could save you from a whole heap of bother on the road. When you’re already late for that important meeting, or to collect your kids. In the middle of a storm that would make Noah nervous. When you forgot your coat.

Prevention is better than cure. If you spot signs of damage on your tyres, or if the tread is starting to wear thin, or you have uneven wear, bring your vehicle into our Darra Tyres shop today.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres – we’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyre Warning Light

My tyre warning light is on – should I go to a tyre shop?

What to do if you notice debris stuck in your tyre

A couple of weeks ago, we had a motorist come to our tyre shop in Darra because his tyre warning light was lit on the dashboard of his vehicle. He was sure nothing was wrong, but thought it best to get it checked out. He’d been driving for 30 minutes with the tyre light glowing. He was lucky he came to us and didn’t continue driving.

What he thought was a faulty warning light turned out to be a potential blowout. He had a piece of plastic wedged between the tread blocks, and it had worked its way into the tyre. Completely flat with the tread, it made no sound on the road. The driver couldn’t feel it as his wheels spun. That little piece of plastic – which looked like a fragment from a front or rear bumper – could have been the cause of the driver’s death.

Debris on the road is a big problem for tyres

A short while ago, I read that road debris is responsible for more than half of the UK’s tyre punctures. The finding came from a survey conducted by Highways England and Bridgestone. Specifically, the survey asked about blowouts at speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour.

We’ve discussed blowouts before, with five ways to avoid blowouts:

But a piece of plastic or glass or a nail in the road? How do you allow for this? It’s a terrifying thought. And it is not only England’s roads that are affected. We’re seeing more debris embedded in tyres in Brisbane today than we used to. A lot more.

What happens when you get debris in your tyre?

You may spot a pothole of brick in the road and take measures to avoid it. But a small piece of plastic or glass or a nail can easily go unnoticed. You will rarely feel it as you drive over it. Which means you could be driving with a potentially fatal flaw in your tyre. Fortunately, most debris damage leads to a slow puncture at worst. Some punctures are more rapid. Some lead to a blowout, especially if you are travelling at speed.

A weekly check of your tyres is usually enough to alert you to any debris and to deal with it. If you have debris embedded between the tread blocks, it is best to take your vehicle to a tyre shop and let them deal with it. The tyre may already be punctured. Removing a nail will simply let the air out faster.

Can all punctures be repaired?

Whether a puncture can be repaired depends on how big the puncture is and where it is on the tyre. Most punctures – like those caused by a nail – are repairable. If a puncture is bigger than around ½ centimetre, then it is likely that the tyre will need to be replaced.

If the damage caused by the debris is to the sidewall of the tyre, it is least likely to be repairable: the rubber there is thinner and less rigid. Damage to the sidewall that is near the tread is most likely to lead to a new tyre being required.

Can you repair a puncture on the road?

If you suffer a puncture while driving, a plug kit is usually able to make a temporary repair. This will seal the hole from the outside, and help it hold air long enough to allow you to get to a tyre shop or garage for a permanent repair.

Beware! The chemicals that plug kits use can damage a tyre over time, and so it is very important that you take the tyre to a tyre shop and explain what has happened and what plug kit you used. The technician will then be able to clean the tyre properly and make the repair effectively (if it is possible to do so).

How are tyres punctures repaired by professionals?

A permanent repair can only be made by patching from the inside. The tyre is removed from the rim, inspected, and cleaned to remove imperfections. It is then ground down so that there is a suitable area to stick the patch.

The patch inserts a rubber plug into the hole. The patch on the inside helps to keep the plug in its place and the air in the tyre. The patch is attached to the tyre using a special rubber cement, and then sealed with a special coating. The technician then cleans the repair on the outside of the tyre. When the repair is dry, the tyre is replaced, re-inflated and checked.

A word of warning about repaired tyres: the speed rating will be affected. The tyre will last a long time, but you should take care of driving at high speed.

Don’t take a chance on your tyre holding out

Those warning lights on your dashboard can fail. But is it worth taking the chance? If your tyre warning light starts glowing suddenly, our advice is to get to a stop and call out a tyre repair service. If you notice a nail or other debris in your tyre during your weekly tyre checks, get your vehicle to the tyre shop straight away.

Don’t risk a blowout. The consequences don’t bear thinking about.

If your tyre warning light comes on or if you find debris in your tyres, contact us at Darra Tyres. Be safe, not sorry.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

Question about tyres

10 questions that Queensland drivers frequently ask about their tyres

All you need to know about your tyres – or is it?

We get asked many questions about tyres. These are the 10 most common, with the answers you need.

1.    My tyre placard mentions particular tyres and rims. Can I fit different to this?

Yes, you can; but the tyre/rim combination and width/diameter must meet certain requirements. The amount that the width and diameter may change by depends upon the type of vehicle. There are different rules for 4WDs, passenger vehicles, etc. You can learn more by reading the Minor Modifications publication (PDF, 414 KB).

2.    Can I increase my vehicle’s ride height?

There are various ways that you could increase the ride height of your vehicle. These include by increasing your vehicle’s tyre dimension, lifting its suspension, or by using body blocks. The amount you can raise it depends on which methods or combination of methods you use to do so. The most that you can raise your ride height by for each single method is:

  • 50mm by increasing the tyre dimension
  • 75mm if raising by lifting the suspension
  • 50mm by using body blocks

However, if you are using a combination of these methods, the most your vehicle can be raised is 150mm.

Just to complicate things a little more, these limits are not applicable to all vehicles. They are a good guideline, but for the exact raise you can make to your vehicle you should examine the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (PDF, 1.93 MB).

3.    Can I use low-profile tyres with a wider diameter on my vehicle?

This is possible to do, but you must make sure that the overall diameter, load rating and speed rating comply with legal requirements. Often, low-profile tyres will be fitted to larger diameter rims; this maintains the overall diameter to requirements. Once more, you should refer to the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (PDF, 1.93 MB).

4.    What is the maximum tyre diameter increases and decreases I can make to my 4WD?

With some 4WD vehicles, you may increase tyre diameter by up to 50mm and decrease it by up to 26mm, from the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended diameter. These are:

  • 4WD passenger vehicles specifically designed for off-road use
  • 4WD goods vehicles and their 2WD equivalents, if the chassis and running gear are essentially the same as the 4WD versions

However, all-wheel drive vehicles (AWDs) are not included in these. The Minor Modifications publication (PDF, 414 KB) provides the information you need.

5.    Can I lower the speed rating of my tyres?

You may want to lower the speed rating of your tyres, and this is possible, providing the tyres meet certain minimums. These are:

  • 140km/h for off-road passenger vehicles
  • 180km/h for other cars or car derivatives carrying up to nine adult passengers in seated positions
  • 120 km/h for other motor vehicles

There is an exception to all these rules: if your vehicle has a lower top speed than the above, then the tyre may not have a speed rating above the vehicle’s top speed.

6.    Can I fit different brand tyres to the same axle?

Yes, though it is preferable to fit the same brand. However, what you cannot do is fit tyres with different construction (e.g. cross-ply, steel radials, textile radials, etc.).

We also recommend that tread patterns should be the same on tyres fitted on the same axle, though there is no legal requirement to do so.

7.    How often should I change my tyres?

Tyres last far longer today than they used to. However, when they need changing depends on many factors, such as:

  • The type of road surface on which they are driven
  • The wear and tear suffered
  • The kilometres covered by the tyre
  • Irrespective of any of the above, the age of the tyre

Most tyres will last between 60,000 and 80,000 kilometres. However, manufacturers recommend that tyres should be changed every five years at a minimum, due to age degradation of the rubber.

8.    How often should I check my tyres?

We recommend that you carry out four tyre safety checks at least once per month, and more often if you drive every day. If you are making a long journey, you should also carry these checks out. These four essential checks are:

  • Tyre pressure
  • Condition of the tyre wall
  • Tread depth
  • All the above on the spare

9.    Should I change all four tyres are the same time?

If you rotate your tyres, the wear and tear on them should be equal. If this is the case, you will probably need to change all four tyres at the same time. However, if not all four tyres need to be changed it is always best to change the tyres on the same axle simultaneously. This will ensure that handling and grip is uniform on the same axle, which will improve your safety on the road.

10. What is the danger of driving on worn tyres?

If you drive on worn tyres, you could be given a hefty fine. However, this should not be your main concern. Worn tyres provide less grip and traction. Your handling will be worse, and your braking distances will be longer. Worn tyres are a big contributor to road accidents and fatalities in Australia.

Do you have a question about your tyres? Are you unsure whether they are legal or if they should be changed? For the answers to all your tyre questions, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Kevin Wood

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